Room 24

Rembrandt and Dutch Caravaggists

In this room we encounter Rembrandt in a self portrait made when he was 34. The painting reveals a confident artist at the height of his career, drawing upon a range of techniques to create rich visual effects. Rembrandt now ran a large workshop; one of his many pupils was Govert Flinck who would become a well-known painter in his own right.

During the 17th century, many young Dutch artists studied in Italy. A group of painters from Utrecht, including Hendrick ter Brugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst, were moved by the paintings of the Italian master, Caravaggio. In response, they depicted half-length figures in shallow spaces with plain, dark backgrounds, and used artificial light sources, such as lanterns and candles, to create dramatic effects.

Frans Hals and his followers in Haarlem also arranged their figures in simple spaces set against unadorned walls, but the emotion of their works usually derived from their vigorous brushwork rather than dramatic light effects.

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